Acorn squash is dark green in color and dark orange inside. It’s a wonderful addition to a traditional Thanksgiving feast. I love the way the dark orange color lends a fall accent to the Thanksgiving table. This rich flavorful squash is harvested in the fall and keeps well in a cool, dark place. Here are five tips for growing delicious buttery acorn squash in your garden.
1. Make hills for planting. Use seeds, not plants, for more stabler growth. Squash needs good drainage so mix sand in amended soil and make hills for planting. Making hills allows the roots to keep their feet dry, between watering. Planting squash around corn keeps weeds away too. It’s part of the three sisters planting method. You can read more here.
2. Space them well. Acorn squash need a lot of space to grow. Make the mounds at least three feet apart. Space rows three feet apart too. This gives vines room to grow. Acorn squash can grow on a trellis as well, but it’s best to keep them well spaced in addition to using the trellis. This way, they don’t steal each others nutrients.
3. Grow in partial sun. Squash do need sun to grow, but too much sun can cause them to wither and die. Plant in a location that gets three hours direct sun and the rest shade. Let the soil dry well between waterings. This keeps fungus from taking over. Placing a board under your growing acorn squash will help keep them from rotting on damp soil.
4. Weed out the weaklings. You will plant six squash seeds per hill for best results. The ideal number of seedlings per hill is three. Once seedlings are about three inches tall, weed out the smaller, less healthy seedlings so the rest receive optimum space, aeration and nutrition. Even though you may love all your baby seedlings, they will do better this way.
5. Fertilize well. Acorn squash need plenty of fertilizer during growth. I use straight compost mixed with sand as initial soil for acorn squash. They do very well with conventional fertilizer or compost tea. Compost tea is made by soaking compost in water and straining. They will usually need a fertilized watering once a week.